Early intervention for autism crucial – experts


Experts at the Guaranty Trust Bank’s Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Consultation in Accra have indicated that early intervention for autism is essential to managing and treating symptoms better, especially for children’s development.

“For those who have autism or other forms of developmental disabilities, early intervention is the best way to go. So if your child is showing signs of autism or any other form of development disability, the parent needs to go and have it checked to figure out what exactly it is. Once we know what is it, then we can develop strategies that can be used at home, school and wherever the child goes to manage the symptoms of the diagnosis.

“The other reason is that, if you get the diagnosis, then you may be referred to services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy or behaviour therapy and others for early management,” A Board Certified Behaviour Analyst who doubled as president and Chief Executive Officer  of Behaviorise Consulting Inc. Toronto,  Canada, Lanre Duyile,  told the B&FT in an interview.

Held on the theme, ‘Creating a Community of Awe-Tism advocates’, the event brought together experts around the world to give families and guardians free consultation at the Chartered Institute of Bankers’ auditorium in Accra.

For his part, Autism Support Specialist from Royal Bethlem Hospital in London, John Paul Horsley, noted that autistic children can strive but that demands the attention and patience of their parents or guardians.

Group Chief Executive Officer at Guaranty Trust Holding Co PLC. (GTCO), Segun Agbaje, stated that while much has been done over the years to increase the social consciousness around autism, and to improve the available support systems for managing developmental disorders, more can be done individually and collectively to create and uphold a culture of inclusion toward people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to enable them reach their full potential.

“The theme for this year’s conference seeks to highlight the issue of social isolation of persons with autism spectrum disorder while calling for all of us to do more in showing practical support for this special group of persons by adopting a mindset of inclusion.

“For us at GTCO, we appreciate diversity in the range of capabilities available to everyone, and see inclusion as a key enabler for wide-reaching growth,” he stated.

Divisional Head, Corporate Communication and Experience at Guaranty Trust Bank, Ghana, Agnes Owusu-Afram, also noted that the programme, which forms part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, will allow guardians to interact with consultants to  best cater for their autistic wards.

“Guaranty Trust Bank came up with this initiative as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. Autism is one subject that is not spoken about enough in our society but it is a serious condition that people are facing. This programme, therefore, is to help clear the misconceptions surrounding autism, and to offer guardians the best consultation on how best to cater for their autistic wards,” she said.

The Annual Autism Conference has over the years shaped a community of people with a shared commitment to create better outcomes for those who find themselves in the margins of society because they are deemed different from what the world defines as normal.

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